Congress needs attitude adjustment: challenger

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Matt Morgan, a Democratic candidate for Michigan's 1st District of the U.S. House of Representatives, talks during an interview with the Daily Mining Gazette Friday.

HOUGHTON — Matt Morgan, a Democratic challenger for Michigan’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running to correct what he sees as the skewed priorities of the current Republican-led House. 

Morgan, of Traverse City, is looking to unseat Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet. Moore spent 20 years on active duty, including two tours in Iraq. He retired from the Marines as lieutenant colonel in 2013. While in the Corps, he met his wife, a fellow Marine from Kalkaska who grew up in L’Anse.  

“I’m a career military officer,” he said. “I never had any desire to run for political office. But I felt it was a public service issue.”

Morgan said his top priority was ensuring residents had access to quality, affordable healthcare. He expressed dissatisfaction with Congressional Republicans’ support for actions he said could force rural hospitals to close, such as cuts to Medicaid funding and the 340B drug discount program. 

“That would be a tremendous burden on those hospitals, and could ultimately force them to close,” he said. “That’s going to limit, or dramatically reduce access to affordable health care, where individuals have to drive to Marquette to see a doctor.”

Asked about a Medicare-for-All approach, Morgan said he wouldn’t rule it out, Morgan said it’s one of the potential solutions.

“I wouldn’t want to say that I wouldn’t support a program that could potentially work … Provided that at the end of the day, that a working family can take their kid to the doctor when they’re sick. That’s our ultimate solution,” he said. “That they can get to the doctor, that they can afford their medication, that they don’t have to make a decision between their heart medicine and a mortgage payment.”

Morgan, who visited the Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton on Friday, said another top priority was funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. President Donald Trump’s budget would cut the program, which does cleanup and restoration work in the Great Lakes, from $300 million to $30 million.  

“This is a really crucial funding stream,” Morgan said. “Anybody who represents anywhere in this region — frankly, in the United States, given the freshwater resources we have here — has to prioritize funding for GLRI.”

Morgan said he was disappointed in Bergman’s vote for the $1.5 trillion tax bill which took effect this year. He said the bill, which reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, benefitted companies such as Apple at the expense of funding programs such as GLRI. 

“If you’re going to prioritize a trillion-dollar tax cut that adds to our ever-expanding budget over health care, Medicare, Medicaid, GLRI, then your priorities are out of whack, and they’re not consistent with representing the people of this district,” he said. 

TOMORROW: Morgan gives his positions on Essential Air Service funding, potential propane prices increases, CTE and minimum wage.